Thursday, June 30, 2016

Whistler Activities

Thursday night Dave, Craig, Neil and I met to do the Grouse Grind. It was the first of the season for us! The Grind is commonly referred to as Mother Natures Stairmaster. It is a 2.9km climb up the face of Grouse Mountain with an elevation gain of 2,800 feet. It's a tough workout! 
Friday evening we arrived in Whistler and had time to enjoy a nice bike ride on the bike paths. 
Saturday Neil and Dave participated in the 28 km section of the Tenderfoot Boogie trail race. Helen, Fergus and I cheered them in. Here's Fergus enjoying his time in Meadowpark at the finish.  
Sunday Neil and I went back to the start of the previous day's race to enjoy the trails in the area of Brandywine. The trails were so nice for running. Here's the actual Brandywine Falls. 
Nice views of Daisy Lake. 
We were not anticipating this but we actually came upon the Whistler Bungee  jumping spot. Caught this just as the guy jumped!  I could hardly watch! 
Monday we hiked to Garibaldi Lake in Garibadi Provincial park. There is a nice trail but the first 6.5 km are fairly steep switch backs. 20 km's return in 5 hours. 
Here's our selfie at the lake. 
The lake is almost at 5,000 feet and projects a beautiful turquoise color. 
Mt. Price towers over the lake. 
Heading back down. 
We just got back to the truck in time before a severe thunderstorm rolled through the Whistler area. A few forest fires were started by lighting in the area - yikes! It rained, it hailed, it was a nasty storm! 
The next morning was so calm. Fergus and I visited the lakes in the Whistler area. It was a hot one! 
We really enjoyed our days at Whistler! Looking forward to the next time. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Whistler Weekend

Friday was a nice weather day in Vancouver. I enjoyed a run on the seawall which is a pathway that goes around Stanley Park and surrounding area. My Fitbit showed 10km when my outing was complete. 
The tide was out and the breeze was creating some small waves rolling in. 
Friday evening we travelled to Whistler and when we arrived the moon was just over Whistler mountain lighting up the sky and highlighting the snow. The night sky was so clear and the mountain air very fresh. 
Craig and Lynette were in Whistler for the weekend celebrating his birthday. We met for dinner on Saturday night and a hike to Cheakamus Lake on Sunday. 
Cheakamus Lake is a beautiful turquoise color. 
Early evening we had a doggy walk with Boe, Josh and Jody. 
It was so nice to see the dogs having so much fun together. The humans enjoyed it too! 
Today we decided to run and bike at Lost Lake park. The park has over 100 km's of trails that are for both bikes and walkers. We finished the outing with a light lunch on the Nicklaus North (golf course) patio. Nice way to end the weekend! 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Vancouver 100 Completed!

Today Neil and I completed the final section we needed to cover on the Vancouver 100 route. We started at Nelson Creek and climbed to the top of Black Mountain and returned to Nelson Creek. We were hoping to see some other participants but I think they were home in their beds or at the Deep Cove end of the trail. One of the funny stories that emerged from this weekends event was that 2 male participants were heading home at 2:30 am after a long day on the trail. When they were traveling over the Lions Gate Bridge they were stopped at a police road block looking for drunk drivers. The police officer lunged his head into the car for the sniff test and must have been hit by a strong odour from hours on the trail but certainly not that of alcohol! Oh what a great event! This is the first time we have broken the 100km's up into sections. It provided some good weekend outings over several weeks. However, I do always  appreciate a long journey! 
Today on the trail I noticed this post with the multiple options. Amazing what you notice when you have the time to take it all in. 
Thursday I had a good outing to Buntzen Lake. 
I opted to take the trail along the lake. It is very undulating and a great workout. I hadn't been there for what seemed like years. 
Near the start of my outing I came upon this sign. Hmmm...
Then this confirmation that indeed Mr. Bear was in the neighborhood. It was very fresh! 
Then this sign appeared on the post in front of says "never hike alone". I was alone! I did the sensible thing and retraced my steps. There have been many Cougar sightings of late on the local trails of Vancouver. No explanation why the Cougars are coming so close to habitation but it's a little disconcerting! Anyway, I still managed 10 km around the lake. 
I explored down by the beach. Nice peaceful area for picnics and taking in the views. I look forward to returning to the area but perhaps not alone!  
Congratulations to all those who participated in the Vancouver 100! Looking forward to next years event. Be kind to each other out there. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

More km's on the Baden Powell Trail in the Heat!

Last weekend it was pouring rain and cold. Wow what a change! Today the temperature was 35 degrees C and hot hot hot! So hot we stayed home and puttered in the garden. It was a good rest day after Friday and Saturday's outings. 
Friday Neil and I started on the Baden Powell trail at Cypress Mountain parking lot and climbed up Black Mountain, continuing past the highest point to check snow conditions in the woods towards Eagle Bluffs. We found a few patches of snow but really very little given all the snow that was there just a few short weeks ago. Now, just mud remains!
We decided to turn around knowing we could get the Nelson Creek to Eagle Bluffs section next weekend on our final outing to complete the V100. We retraced our steps and continued past the parking lot at Cyoress through the "Enchanted Forest" to the top of the Hollyburn Chute. Then back the same way to the car at Cypress. A solid days work! 
The ski runs on Hollyburn were free of snow. We were expecting snow and slushy travels. What a pleasant surprise! 
The Hollyburn lodge is being rebuilt! As we approached the lodge we could hear saws and hammers wondering what the noise was. Looking forward to seeing the project completed. 
Saturday Neil, Dave and I started at Cleveland Dam to cover the section to the top of the Hollyburn Chute on the Baden Powell where we turned around the day before coming from the other direction. It was a good steady climb for 8km's and the return back down. We saw a few V100 participants in action along the way. Another good days work on the trails with the heat turning up! One more section to go to complete the 2016 Vancouver 100! See you next weekend Baden Powell Trail! Hopefully in a wee bit cooler temps! 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

50km on the Baden Powell

Wow was it raining on Saturday! Our plan was to start at 10 am in Deep Cove and travel to Lynn Canyon return to Deep Cove. We poured another cup of coffee and tried to talk each other out of it and also into it as the weather was so nasty.  On the 20th floor at the condo the rain was so thick it looked like snow. We did eventually get out there after some hesitation just an hour later than planned.  It was just Neil and I so no worries. I wore my "Norway" purchased jacket, hat and gloves. What a test for our rain gear! I kept it all on the entire 25km journey which is so unusual for me to not remove at least my hat or gloves.  Amazing - the Norway jacket was not wet on the inside! My under layers were wet from sweat but the jacket stopped the rain! 
We saw a few people early on in Deep Cove wearing rain ponchos but did not pass anyone else until we came upon a fellow ultra runner - Baldwin! He is training for the Knee Knacker (Neil too!) it was great to catch up briefly but we had to keep moving after a few minutes as we all started to get cold quite quickly. 
The trails were running with rain! I was pleased to turn around at Lynn Canyon as I felt like we had been out there long enough in such conditions. Now 
that is 25km on the Baden Powell all going towards completing 100kms by the 
V100 deadline. 
Sunday morning we woke to glorious sunshine! Thankfully our gear had dried well over night and we set out again starting at Cleveland Dam just below Grouse Mountain to travel to Lynn Canyon from the other direction return to Cleveland. It is a bit crazy traffic wise with road construction in the Grouse area. Now that's another 25km today on rough terrain. That's 50km in the bank for Vancouver 100. We have another 50km to go on the very snowy section over the next few weekends. Good times on the Baden Powell - today I found myself reminiscing about all the events and trail companions that have tackled this trail over the years. We have been so fortunate to enjoy the trails over the years! Until next time...happy trails! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Trip to Lethbridge, Alberta

Work brings Neil to Lethbridge, Alberta a few times a year. This trip I decided to tag along. Lethbridge is located in southern Alberta, only one hour north of the Alberta/Montana (USA) border and a one hour drive to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We flew to Calgary, rented a car and drove 2.5 hours south to Lethbridge. I've been here a few times before but this trip we hit a nice weather window of not too hot or too cold, no bugs, no wasps, no snakes (Neil got hit by a bull snake once in an ultra event here). I enjoyed my days of exploring. The first day I did a few loops of Henderson Lake a man-made lake in the center of town. 
Henderson Lake. It has a nice pathway all the way around it. 
In the evening Neil joined me to refresh my memory of the Lost Souls Ultra route. It starts and finishes near this rail bridge which is the highest and longest of its type in the world. The next day I enjoyed an outing on a section of the course. 
The trail takes you under the bridge. Glad a train was not on it when I crossed under it! 
The trail is a dirt path through desert like conditions. Nice to see where you are heading! 
The wild flowers were blooming. The butterfly landed just when I took the photo! 
I spotted a few cactuses along the way. 
The trail has lots of ups and downs that are short and steep. These can be slippery in wet/muddy conditions. 
I came upon a few of these ant hills on the side of the trail. They freaked me out! They were active with ants running in and out. I was itchy for the rest of the day! 
The trail also has some switch backs, bridges and stairs. 
Neil joined me for a nice evening stroll by the "Old Man River". He was showing me some of the Lost Souls route. It really gets very isolated quite quickly. 
Nice view of the river and the hills. Overall a great trip to southern Alberta, I'll have to tag along again on another trip! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Vicar Lakes Trail

The alarm went at 5am (it's been awhile since I was up that early!) Team Dodgy, with our ad hoc member Chris met at the Lynn Headwaters park gate to start our journey for the day. We were heading to the Vicar Lakes Trail. 
We started the journey with a 12 km bike ride to the start of the trail. The air was fresh and we were the only folk out there this early on the Seymour Valley Trailway.  Once at the very hidden trail head, we stashed our bikes in the bush. 
Shortly after the start of the trail we came upon these very large first growth cedar trees that are named "The General and The General's Wife." I would guess that these original giants are at least 700 yrs old. That's a longtime to be married! We were all in awe and especially Chris who proclaimed these are the largest trees he has ever seen! Us too - but we have been here previously! But still in awe of these giants in the woods. 
The trail is steep: very steep and so knarley there is always something to grab onto, be it a rope or a tree root. My heart rate was up there. I haven't climbed this steep on a trail so full of obstacles and ascent since last August. We climbed to 1,030 meters (3,471feet) With an elevation gain of 2,629 feet  in 3.5km's. 
We stopped for a bite to eat at Vicar Lakes where we were greeted with snow and very boggy ponds both around and under the snow. It was at this point we decided to turn back down. It is still very early in the year to be among the peaks of Vancouver for us Baggers. Despite the unseasonably warm May temperatures this year, the huge snowpack of the past winter is slow to move. I would guess it will be another month before the alpine is largely snow free. 
The clouds were closing in and we were feeling cold from the mist with our feet being soaking wet. 
The route down can be a bit trickier with it being hard to see your foot placement. Ropes are in place in strategic points which really help. It really is like a climbing gym in the woods - the real thing! 
Once down off the trail we retrieved our bikes and decided to take the Seymour Mainline lower road out which is a bit rougher and perhaps with a few more hills (at least it felt like it on the 12km return trip!). There was lots of evidence of Bears on this route!  Here we are at the Spur 4 bridge where us "Once Upon a Time" fans recognize the spot many scenes from the show were filmed. 
After the final 12km bike ride out we were done! It was an 8 hour day, 2 hours of biking and 6 hours on the trail return. 
This trail is like no other - amazingly challenging terrain. Great outing team Dodgy! Looking forward to the next journey.